Indian Languages and Literature-II


  • The old apabhramsha had taken new forms in some areas or was in the process of evolving into other forms.
    • These languages were evolving at two levels: the spoken and the written language.
  • The old Brahmi script of the Ashoka days had undergone a great change.
  • Language used by Surdas and Bihari has been given the name of Braj Bhasha; that used by Tulsidas in the Ramacharitamanasa is called Avadhi and the one used by Vidyapati has been termed as Maithili.
  • But Hindi, as we know it today is the one called Khadi Boli. Though Khusrau has used Khadi Boli in his compositions in the thirteenth century its extensive use in literature began only in the nineteenth century


  • 4th century AD
  • use in Bahamani states of Ahmadnagar, Golkunda, Bijapur and Berar.
  • Khusrau (1253-1325): reign of Sultan Balban and was a follower of Nizam ud-din Auliya. important works composed by him are Laila Majnun and Ayina-I-Sikandari dedicated to Alau-din-Khalji.
  • Among other well-known poets are Ghalib, Zauq, and Iqbal. Iqbal’s Urdu poetry is available in his collection called Bang- i – dara.
    • His Sarejahan se achcha Hindostan hamara is sung and played at many of the national celebrations in India.
  • Best prose writers were people like Pandit Ratan Nath Sarshar, who wrote the famous Fasanah- i-Azad.
  • Baber wrote a book known as Tuzek-e-Babari
  • Akbar was very fond of leaning. ‘Akbar Nama’, Sur Sagar, Ram Charitamanas are prominent among the books written during his time. Malik Muhammad Jayasis Padmavat and Keshav’s Ram Chandrika were also written during the same period.
    Jahangir greatly patronized literature
  • During Shah Jahan’s time there was a well known scholar named Abdul Hameed Lahori. He wrote Badshah Nama.
  • Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan and Mirza Galib
  • Maulvi Altab Hussain Ali, Akbar Allahabadi and Dr. Mohammed Iqbal
  • Persian language
    • Amir Khusrau and Amir Hasan Dehelvi wrote superb poetry in Persian.
  • Historians like Minhas-us-Siraj and Zia Barani and Ibn Batuta
  • Babar wrote his tuzuk (autobiography) in Turkish language, but his grandson Akbar got it translated into Persian. Akbar patronized many scholars. He got Mahabharata translated into Persian.
  • Jahangir’s autobiography (Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri)is in Persian and is a unique piece of literature. It is said that Noorjahan was an accomplished Persian poetess.
  • Abul Fazl’s Akbarnamah and Ain-e-Akbari is a fine piece of literature.
  • Chandra Bhan, a writer of Shahjahan’s days
  • Tabqat-i-Alamgïri, shedding light on Aurangzeb
  • Badauni was another writer who belonged during Akbar’s time.
  • Hindu poets of this period were Kabir, Tulsidas, Surdas and Rahim. Kabirs dohas are still so popular today while Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas has become the most sacred book of the Hindus. Behari’s Satsai written during Akbar’s reign is very famous.
  • Alankarashekhara by Keshav Mishra was produced in Akbar’s court.
  • Akbar also got many Sanskrit books like Bhagwad Gita and Upanishads translated into Persian.


  • Prithviraj Raso is supposed to be the first book in the Hindi language. It is an account of exploits of Prithviraj Chauhan
  • Bharata’s Natyashastra
  • Hindi evolved during the Apabhramsa stage between the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. and the 14th C.
    • It was characterized as Veergatha Kala i.e. the age of heroic poetry or the Adi Kala (early period).
    • It was patronised by the Rajput rulers as it glorified chiralry and poetry.
  • Kabir and Tulsidas
  • Khadi dialect became more prominent and a variety of literature was produced in Sanskrit
  • Surdas wrote his Sur Sagar in which he talks of Krishna
  • Mirabai, who sang in Rajasthani language, and Raskhan, who, though a Muslim, sang in praise of Krishna.
  • Nandadasa was an important Bhakti poet. Rahim and Bhushan were a class apart.
  • Kabir did not believe in institutionalised religion.
    • He was a devotee of a formless God.
    • Chanting His name was the be-all and end-all for him.
  • Bengali writers, Rabindranath Tagore became the first Indian to win the Nobel Prize for literature (Geetanjali) in 1913
  • Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, Munshi Prem Chand, Maithili Sharan Gupt, Jaishankar Prasad
  • Bankim Chandra Chatterji (l 838-94)- Vande Mataram, our national song, is an excerpt from his novel, Anand Math. Satyartha Prakash was his most important work in Hindi.
  • Surya Kant Tripathi, ‘Nirala’
  • Mahadevi Verma is the first woman writer in Hindi


  • The Baptist Mission Press was established in Serampore near Calcutta in 1800.
  • Fort William College founded in 1800
  • Chaitanya provided a stimulus to the development and growth of Bengali
  • Narrative poems called the Mangal Kavyas
  • William Carey wrote a grammar of Bengali and published an English-Bengali dictionary
  • In 1854 came Sir Charles Wood’s Despatch and in 1857 the three universities of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay were established
  • However, it was Raja Ram Mohan Roy who wrote in Bengali besides English that gave impetus to Bengali literature.
  • Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (1820-91) and Akshay Kumar Dutta (1820- 86) were two other writers of this early period.
  • In addition to these, Bankim Chandra Chatterji (l834-94), Sharat Chandra Chatterji (l876-1938), and R.C. Dutta, a noted historian and a prose writer, all contributed to the making of Bengali literature. But the most important name that influenced the whole of India was that of Rabindra Nath Tagore (1861-1941).
  • Novels, dramas, short stories, criticism, music and essays, all flowed from his pen. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913 for his Geetanjali.

Assamese & Odia Literature

  • Shankardeva who introduced Vaishnavism in Assam helped in the growth of Assamese poetry.
  • The earliest Assamese literature consisted of buranjis (court chronicles)
  • Lakshmi Nath Bezbarua and Padmanaba Gohain Barua

Odia Literature

  • Fakirmohan Senapati, Radha Nath Ray & Upendra Bhanja (1670 – 1720)
  • Saraladasa are regarded as the first works of Oriya literature

Punjabi Literature

  • Gurmukhi and Persian script
  • Gurmukhi script limited to the Adi Granth, the holy book of the Sikhs
  • Guru Nanak was the first poet in Punjabi
  • Adi Granth also contains poetry of the next four gurus
  • Guru Tegh Bahadur has also contributed to the Adi Granth
  • Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru composed two savaiyyas in Punjabi but these are not a part of the Adi Granth
  • Folklore: Heer of Waris Shah
  • Bulley Shah who was a Sufi saint
  • Bhai Vir Singh composed an epic, named Rana Surat Singh.
  • Puran Singh and Dr. Mohan Singh are among the best-known writers.
  1. Rajasthani Literature: Mira Bai for her lord (Lord Krishna)
  2. Gujarati literature: Narsi Mehta, Dr. K.M. Munshi. Narmad’s poetry gave a fillip to the Gujarati literature. Saraswati Chandra, a novel by Govardhan Ram
  3. Sindh: Mirza Kalish Beg and Dewan Kauramal

Marathi Literature

  • Saint Jnaneshwar (Gyaneshwar), wrote a long commentary on the Bhagavad Gita.
  • Started the kirtan tradition in Maharashtra.
  • Namdev (l 270- 1350), Gora, Sena and Janabai.
  • Songs are sung even today by the Verkari pilgrirns on their way to Pandharpur pilgrimage
  • Eknath (l 533-99) wrote the commentaries on the Ramayana and the Bhagawat Purana
  • Tukarama (1598-1650)
  • Ramdas (1608-81), who was the guru of Shivaji, is the last of these hymn writers
  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak (l 857-1920) started his Journal Kesari in Marathi
  • Keshav Sut and V.S. Chiplunkar, Hari Narayan Apte and Agarkar, H.G Salgaokar, M.G. Ranade, K.T. Telang, G.T. Madholkar

Kashmir Literature

  • Kalhana wrote Rajatarangini in Sanskrit
  • Lal Ded probably the first to sing in the Kashmiri language was a Shaivite mystic
  • Haba Khatoon, Mahjoor, Zinda Kaul, Noor Din also known as Nund Rishi, Akhtar Mohiuddin, Sufi Ghulam Mohammad and Dina Nath Nadim wrote devotional poetry in Kashmiri
  • The Western influence did not reach Kashmir till the end of the nineteenth century.

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